Marie has been humming and singing all over the house preparing for the Christmas Concert. Where her younger siblings tired quickly of all the “noise” they called it, I reveled in it, singing right along when I could. This was something I didn’t have to assist with. I was ecstatic!
With all the pressures of getting ready for the holidays and keeping Marie on task with her schoolwork, tests, projects, etc., I wanted to pretend that I had nothing to do. I wanted just a moment to pretend that I was all ready for the holidays and my five lovely children didn’t require any assistance with schoolwork. Well, I can dream, can’t I?
I dreamed as I went about my usual labors of love, and Marie continued to sing. And I continued to smile. Marie has the ability to listen to music and pick up the words. Once she learns a song, she remembers it. As with her other classes, I never see her “reading” sheet music to learn the words.
Marie is in both the choir and the stage band playing mellophone, similar to the French horn. She never practices at home. Since I am demanding about the other school work, I let this one go. And she flourishes.
The night of the concert, there was a covered dish dinner for everyone involved with the music program and their families. I allowed Marie to choose what to contribute, so she took in plate full of Amish Friendship Bread. Marie was so excited about her first concert, she begged me not to take her Adderall. If you remember, she always gives me a hard time about this. Well I relented. She didn’t take it and bounced around the cafeteria during dinner. I worried about my decision. I try not to force the medication except for academic reasons, hoping that she will mature and understand how to act. It appears, not yet.
Music has a focusing effect on Marie. She becomes absorbed in it. Once the concert began, Marie just shined. She was the only student on stage without a music book. The holiday concert showcased the choir, band, and the Silvertones. Marie used her energy to run off stage to change into a few different Silvertones’ costumes and dance with her partner as the small group performed in front of the larger choir.
When she wasn’t singing with the group, she would take the stairs into the orchestra pit before the stage to play mellophone in the concert band. All the concert students seemed to enjoy themselves. Fake snow flew playfully at the band from on stage by the choir during Jingle Bells. The band accompanied the choir in many numbers. Marie later told me that she needed to choose where she wanted to be, choir or band, during those numbers.
The concert included an audience sing-a-long with words to traditional carols written in the program. And then came the grand finale. The high school choir invited alumni from the audience to come up on stage to sing with the students the Alleluia chorus. Well, my husband was first up on that stage. Like Marie, he knows all the words to many songs, including the Alleluia chorus. And yes, he is an alumnus at the high school.
An arts program is a good thing to have available to students in school, especially the special needs students. Sometimes it may be the only thing that special students can accomplish on their own.